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Gill Osborne's 2021 List (1 Viewer)

Gill Osborne

Well-known member
Thursday 15th April

I've been looking after a friend's four budgies for a week and today I took them back to her home in Lynemouth. I really enjoyed having them in our home but it almost killed my poor husband as he is allergic to their feathers and dust :censored: Poor chap spent most of the week a bit tight-chested. On the drive back home to Alnwick I decided to take a slight detour past Cresswell Pond as I had a couple of hours to spare before I had to go to work. I was hoping for a Wheatear or two in the fields beside the pond but no joy today - just a lot of Greylag Geese and Shelduck.

Pulling into my usual parking bay alongside the River Coquet however I struck gold with a flyover Swallow and six stunning Black-tailed Godwit on the opposite bank. Quite a lot of Sand Martin in the bank opposite too which was nice to see.

Slowly but surely the Year List numbers are creeping up....dare I even think of 150+ this year? I'm certainly going to do my best to achieve it and not, as in previous years, miss out on common birds. I didn't see a single Treecreeper or Great Spotted Woodpecker in 2020! Absolutely bonkers considering they are so common in Hulne Park!

74: Greylag Goose
75: Swallow
76: Black-tailed Godwit

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Gill Osborne

Well-known member
Saturday 24th April
Plot 34, Ratten Row Allotments, Alnwick

I spent a pleasant hour pottering around and moving plants and seedlings into bigger pots in the greenhouse as well as belatedly cutting back a very overgrown 'Black Knight' buddleja shrub. All the while I was serenaded by the sound of 'my' colony of Hairy-footed Flower Bees and the glorious rich song of one of my favourite warblers - a Blackcap. Wonderful to hear him back once more....spring never truly starts for me until I hear these birds.

77: Blackcap

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Gill Osborne

Well-known member
Wednesday 28th April
Alnwick Moor

I had an hour to burn before picking Neil up so decided to pop up to the moor. Still not a lot about and no sign nor sound of any grouse but a trio of circling Buzzard were nice...as was a male Kestrel hovering. A couple of Curlew flew overhead calling and one seemed to be displaying with a climbing flight then gliding down on quivering wings...first time I've seen this. Just before I left I heard the unmistakeable song of a Willow Warbler from the small wood on the northern side of the moor which was nice....new tick for the Year List and another welcome summer migrant returning...tho' the temperature could barely be called summery today! At times we had a couple of squally hail showers passing swiftly through.

78: Willow Warbler

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Gill Osborne

Well-known member
Thursday 29th April
Northumberland Street, Alnwick

Summer has arrived!!! :cool: Driving Neil to work I was thrilled to see that familiar manically-flapping zigzag flight of my favourite harbinger of summer - a SWIFT! Earliest I've ever seen one if I remember rightly (I'll check my records later). Lovely to see and hopefully it'll bring some warmer weather up with it!

79: Swift

Gill Osborne

Well-known member
Thursday 13th May
Eyemouth, Scotland

I cheekily sneaked ower the border whilst Nicola wasn't looking and spent a few hours with my penpal of 3 years, Anne. She lives in Cumbria but loves Eyemouth and tries to visit a couple of times a year. We've been trying to meet up for the past 18 months but with one thing and another it kept getting cancelled. I left Alnwick in bright sunshine but by the time I crossed the border the fog was so thick I could barely see more than 20ft in front of myself! I didn't ruin our day though and the four hours passed in a flash as we talked non-stop :LOL: At one point we were walking along a path and across the road was a field planted with young trees on it's edge. I remember thinking that it looked ideal Roe Deer habitat and then I saw one!!! A female resting in full view!
Birdwise not a lot - my first House Martin of the year in the town itself, in the harbour and along cliffs lots of Herring Gull, couple of Great Black-backed, a single Grey Heron but, as we walked along the cliffs, some fabulous views of Fulmar.

A lovely day out despite the fog (it certainly wasn't cold!) and on the way home I took the scenic route......aka took a wrong turning :ROFLMAO: I ended up in the middle of nowhere in heavy fog and eventually found my way back onto the A1 twenty miles north of Eyemouth!

I definitely plan to get back up here in a few weeks' time when it's sunnier and explore the cliffs and walk along to St Abbs.

84: House Martin
85: Fulmar

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Gill Osborne

Well-known member
Saturday 5th June
Long Nanny, Northumberland

87: Lesser Black-backed Gull
88: Arctic Tern
89: Black Tern my first since 2003!
90: Sandwich Tern
91: Ringed Plover



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Gill Osborne

Well-known member
Update from 5th June ~ the Black Tern was, in fact, an American Black Tern so a lifer for me!!! 😀

89: AMERICAN BLACK TERN lifer no. 232 🤩

Other than the completely unexpected lifer it has been a bit of a year for me. Neil and I split up and now live at virtually opposite ends of Northumberland...it's all frightfully amicable and we're still friends...I'd just had enough of being married and wanted my own space and freedom to do my own stuff once more. It's taking a bit of adjustment but overall was definitely a step in the right direction for me and I'm excited to see what the future will bring with the freedom to get out to explore the natural world a lot more :)
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Gill Osborne

Well-known member
I'm on nightshift tonight (9.45pm till 6.15am then same again Thursday night) so I've spent the afternoon catching up on housework which won't get done over the next few days due to other rubbish shifts (finish nights at 6am on Friday then back in at 6pm till 2am on Saturday ~ no daylight for me for a few days!!!) and then decided to go over the past few years' Year Lists on Bird Forum. Funny how reading entries from even ten years ago can bring back such clear memories of where I was and even the weather conditions!

As I said earlier it's been one helluva year for me and for a few months I just haven't been myself.....including a rather epic meltdown at work a few weeks ago (!) but I think that was everything coming to a head and now I'm feeling a million times better than I have for a very long time.....and been able to make important decisions with a clearer head. The main one is my giving up the allotment - not a decision I've come to quickly but which has involved weeks of thought as to the pros and cons. I want to focus more on nature and getting back to spending my time outdoors as much as possible and with working full-time I simply don't have the hours available to do the allotment justice nor keep on top of the work involved in it. I've grown to resent it as my precious days off were spent trying to keep it weed-free instead of doing the things I wanted to do - like birding! So over the next week or two I'm going to remove all my precious plants that I want to keep as well as my large planters and containers and move everything to the courtyard outside my front door and then hand the keys back to the council. There's a waiting list for the allotments so mine may as well go to somebody who will appreciate it....and it'll free up time and cash for me to get back to what I really want to do.

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